National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coins
The National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act requires the creation of three coins (in gold, silver, and clad) to recognize and celebrate the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The year of issue, 2014, marks the museum’s 75th anniversary.
The law allows surcharges from each coin sold to be paid to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. This will help fund the operations of the Hall of Fame, an independent not-for-profit educational institution.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s mission is to help people appreciate baseball’s historical development and impact on our culture. To support this mission, the Museum collects, preserves, exhibits, and interprets baseball artifacts and honors those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport.
Since it opened in 1939, the Museum has hosted more than 15 million visitors.
Only 1 percent (one out of a hundred) of all the Major League players have been awarded membership in the Hall of Fame. A plaque is created for each member, and in the Museum’s main gallery, the plaques of all 300 members line the oak walls.
The Museum’s other collections include more than 35,000 items such as bats, baseballs, uniforms, player equipment, ballpark artifacts, awards, artwork, textiles, tickets, collectibles, and memorabilia. The institution’s library archives contain more than 130,000 baseball cards and 2.6 million photographs, books, magazines, newspaper clippings, films, and video and audio tapes.
Expanding Farther into the Third Dimension
While most coins are basically flat, these coins have a dimensional difference: the obverse (front) is concave and the other side is convex. This domed shape is a first for the United States Mint. Although the 1973 Roberto Walker Clemente Congressional Gold Medal was also curved, the curves were both convex (curved outward).
The shape of the baseball coins was modeled after two other similarly curved coins that have recently been made in other countries: France’s International Year of Astronomy curved coins and Australia’s Southern Cross curved coins. As the United States Mint planned its first-ever curved coins, the Royal Australian and Perth Mints offered some valuable technical insight.
No modern coin has required as much research and development as these. When you strike a dome-shaped coin, how high can the relief be? How does this shape affect the milling, turning, and grinding operations? What about the laser frosting and proof polishing? All these questions and more had to be tackled and solved.
To set a design for the concave front of the coin, a national competition was held between April 11 and May 11, 2013. The winning design, by Cassie McFarland, is the same on all three coins. (A separate challenge for kids under 14 was also held around that time but coins were not made from the winning designs.)
The design consists of a baseball glove, one of the most basic elements of “America’s national pastime,” or of even a simple game of catch in the backyard or at the local sand lot. The glove design also fits the coin’s concavity like a…well, like a glove.
The design on the convex back, also common to all three coins, is a baseball like the ones used in Major League Baseball®.